On the eve of their threatened walkout over legal aid rates, criminal barristers have received an upbeat message from their leaders, promising that 'key changes' are on their way.
In their Monday Message, chair of the Criminal Bar Association chair Chris Henley QC and vice chair Caroline Goodwin QC say the ‘narrative is changing’ and the importance of the criminal bar is now better understood.
They write: ‘Detailed work has been going on for some time within the reviews being led by the CPS and MoJ, which would potentially allow key changes to be implemented much more rapidly than previously timetabled. We expect to have detailed proposals to share with you imminently.’
They add: 'Discussions have continued throughout this weekend, as they did the previous weekend. We all want a solution. Of course we might not get there, but we are increasingly confident that we will.’
The message follows the results of the CBA ballot in which criminal barristers voted to stage a complete one day walkout on 1 July.
The CBA has 10 immediate demands regarding prosecution fees, including that brief fees are 'enhanced significantly’ by 1 October. In terms of defence, it demands an end to flat brief fees and for barristers to be paid 100% of brief fees if trials crack.